My Q1-2014 report

Here is what I did in Q1

Tools and code

This quarter we have made 2 releases of Transvision (3.1 and 3.2). For 3.1, most of the credit goes to my colleague (and Italian localizer) Francesco Lodolo who integrated his productization scripts into the app and worked on redesigning the menus and making the app better in responsive mode, my work on 3.1 was limited on performance patches and release management. Transvision 3.2 received a lot more of my code as it integrated one major new feature (planned since I took the project under my umbrella two years ago), which is indexing all translations of our flagship website www.mozilla.org. So now Transvision is no longer a search engine and QA tool for all of our products translations, it also supports websites using the .lang format (next up is indexing websites using gettext). From a developper perspective, this is also the release in which we automate the generation of the documentation of our classes thanks to phpDocumentor. Currently I am working on a better MVC approach and organization of code so as to work on features such as atom feeds, on the fly generation of TMX files and other more flexible export features, it may be in addition or in replacement of the TMX files we generate at extraction time. Caching is also in the pipe, the app is currently very fast and responsive but caching could help us extend more our external API to more time consuming data generation.

A personal achievement is that I finally rewrote my old Web Dashboard (whose code dated back to 2007) and moved that to github. Two new features, direct query of web localization bugs per locale on Bugzilla and display of the translation status for most of the projects hosted on Verbatim, our web localization platform, the latter was a patch by Francesco. The big feature is that the code went from 6000 lines of spaghetti code to 400 clean code, old features that made sense 7 years ago and now useless were removed and the fact that we can now track www.mozilla.org work in Bugzilla per locale allowed cutting a lot of code. Pretty happy that this was totally transparent to the user and that we are already starting to add new features to help us ship software!

On the Langchecker side, the tool we use to track .lang based projects and deploy lang files on repositories, I added per locale json feeds for the status of the locale and it now warns about invalid metadata and can now removes obsolete or invalid tags that we use on mozilla.org to activate a feature for a locale on a page. We also used it to expose strings from our first project based on Pontoon.

Other small tools of mine got updated, my mass bug filing script can now file bugs marked as mozilla confidential, something we needed for Mobile World Congress pages, I whipped up a script using Transvision data to know the distribution of strings across components in Firefox/FirefoxOS which allows specifically to know how many strings we have for devtools (potentially a future Transvision feature) etc.

All in all, I'd say I spent about 30% of my time this quarter hacking on code, which is cool.

Events and community

This quarter I attended one event outside of Paris, Fosdem. As usual it was interesting in terms of networking with European open source hacktivists. I also organized a one day event in the Paris office with April which mostly consisted of workshops on how to contribute to an open source project (I led two workshops on participating to Mozilla localization). I also attended 3 events in the Paris office, one with the French community to welcome half a dozen new volunteers, one with Rosana and Goofy dedicated  to SUMO localization and a last one which was an impromptu meeting between the French community and Brian King from Reps. With a Paris office tailored for meetings, I expect that I will continue to organize / attend to community meetings locally instead of travelling a lot like in the past, that's more compatible with my recent fatherhood :)

This wasn't a big quarter in terms of finding contributors, I can identify only 2 new people that became active and productive in the Mozilla l10n project directly because of me, that was mostly due to the fact that I spent more time on shipping projects and building tools this quarter. I also had some more paperwork than usual to deal with as I have an intern starting in April and I also worked with my colleagues on a tax refund paper for Research and Development in the Paris office.

I spent some specific time helping the Lithuanian community trying to grow in general, we created an IRC channel, opened a mailing list for Lithuania, did some work on etherpads  and contacted other open source projects in Lithuanians, past contributors, would be contributors through the Contribute page... We found some people interested in helping with l10n but more work will be needed to reboot the Lithuanian community (not just in l10n).

I also closed the mozilla.community.europe which had been created after we closed Mozilla Europe and merged its activities with Mozilla, it unfortunately never attracted any activity and was just collecting spam (which I had to delete on a daily basis).

About the Transvision community, the project reached 9 committers in March, is now listed on What Can I Do for Mozilla (which makes it the only active PHP project listed on the site ;)). It is growing slowly but steadily on all fronts (uses, codebase, contributors, features...). We are also working on making it easier to hack (static and automatic documentation, better installation scripts...) but one of the roadblock is the amount of data that needs to be downloaded first to make it useful locally, the sum of our hg/git/svn repos are about 17GB big. Even after extraction of strings from all of our repos, it is probably like 200MB of text, we may evaluate a downloadable snapshot of that in the install process to make it easier for contributors that want to hack on it.

From a tooling community perspective, big thanks to Enrique Estevez, our galician localizer, who is working on upstreaming patches to OmegaT to make it work better with Mozilla formats (.properties and .lang) and who is also writing an Omega T plugin to get translation suggestions from Transvision. Babelzilla also contacted me for similar purposes, that means that at least four Mozilla tools use it or plan to use it directly (Mozilla Translator, OmegaT, Pontoon, Babelzilla). We will put a focus on improving, documenting and versionning our external API this year to make it easier to the tools community to integrate it.

Mozilla.org localization

On Mozilla.org, the big deal this year was like last year the Mobile World Congress event, we updated all of our Firefox OS pages and home page + tabzilla in 17 languages in time before the event and also added some extra content for a dozen of these locales. As usual with big projects, we exposed feature needs and we now can publish promotions in tabzilla per locale, using the same mecanism as for the home page, so as to target only the languages that we were working on for MWC.

MWC was not all though, we also worked on a new Pricacy page for a few locales, we worked on a landing page for Firefox Metro, but unfortunately the product got cancelled, we updated a lot of older content, made patches in our templates to avoid duplicated strings, shipped new locales on the release channel with all o their web content done (Xhosa and Aragonese) and shipped Malay on the Beta and Aurora channels too.

The amount of strings is now around 1500 for a big locale on mozilla.org and about 600 for a small locale. Of course, since we have frequent content changes (promos, minor string updates on tabzilla, download pages, in-product pages...), this is actually more, especially for the bigger locales and Firefox OS locales, but I am happy that we succeed in keeping all of the locales in good shape, especially the small ones, while not slowing down the creation of English content. The site is definitely getting better and more localized month after month, two years after the switch to Django and the total rewrite, this is starting to look really good again.

And now Q2!

Expect Q2 to be more of the same :) One interesting point is that I am taking Theo Chevalier, our main French localizer, for an internship at Mozilla, which means that he will work on all of the cool stuff I have in mind but never get the time to do (like working on growing our l10n Firefox Nightly userbase which is ridiculously low compared to en-US), he will also of course work on the big Q2 project that is the launch of Firefox Australis!

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